Enormous cost savings with process sandardization

A big time label producer, Paragon Print and Packaging required consistency and standardisation. Extensive tests and measurements on their whole printing process revealed that the Genetic Transfer Technology (GTT) anilox rolls from Apex Group showed less than one percent variation. A case study revealing the process.

As UK’s leading manufacturer of responsible packaging for the retail food industry, standardization of their (label) printing process has been a key issue to Paragon. As Europe’s largest label manufacturer, Paragon Labels produces more than 1.5 billion labels each month. Using 52 flexographic label machines across six label plants and having extremely high demands on their printing quality Paragon had a huge need for process control and stability, thus all waste need to be avoided. It was clear to them that their printing process could still be improved and optimized. This was why they decided to have a critical and detailed look at all components within their printing process. Their main goal was to achieve customer specified digital colour targets, reduce spitting problems to zero, control the consistency of their printing jobs and achieve outstanding results on HD Flexo.

And it was how their 18 months journey began.

Extensive measurements with latest high-tech measuring systems showed that the devil was in the details. Understanding the variables and establishing the controls was paramount to achieve total colour management. Once this fact became obvious, Paragon started testing and measuring Apex GTT. After numerous tests on entry appraisal testing with Troika Anicam and Press side tests using all the same inputs and detailed evaluation it was clear that Apex GTT rolls performed the way they were looking at as by far with a variation of less than one percent. Paragon’s logical choice was to implement GTT into their printing process. But knowing that GTT performs best when all printing components perfectly match, they decided not to only standardize their anilox inventory but their whole printing process. Different to many other co-suppliers, Paragon did not measure the ink outside the press but directly on the press.

“We know tht the whole process does not work if the ink does not match,” says Michael Marshall, operation manager at Paragon, issuing Ink Right First Time (RFT) to press is critical to delivery, quality and consistency, Apex GTT has allowed us to control one of the critical inputs when achieving customer demands of less than 2.00 delta e 2000.” Measuring the best results when combining GTT with the inks of INX Ink finally lead to the decision to not only change their anilox but also their ink supplier. Step-by-step Paragon changed their whole printing process and gained clear benefits. Spitting problems with their UV inks are a thing of the past now. Significant cost savings on their ink waste of 55 percent, Doctor Blade usage reduction of 50 percent, 46 percent reduction on ink change over time and 15 percent reduction in make ready meters, show that they made the right step at the right time.

As standardization is a heavily discussed topic in the industry it is interesting to see why it really became possible at Paragon. “Understanding your process means being aware that there are points which might be small but nevertheless are of crucial importance. For us it became very clear that the ink transfer is one of the key issues a printer needs to have control for each job on a daily basis. Otherwise standardization remains challenging most of the time, if not impossible,” Dennis Patterson, group operations director at Paragon concludes, adding, “With Apex GTT we selected a high-tech tool that gave us the highest degree of control around the ink transfer. At the same time we were able to reduce our anilox inventory thus saving a significant number of set up anilox roll changes across the businesss on a daily basis.”

Paragon achieved perfect control about their whole printing process on their more than 50 printing machines manufactured by seven different OEM’s. All of them came under control with a delta e value of less than 2. Through regular, very precise and critical volume measurements of their GTT rolls, Paragon now maintains their high standards of quality and control. Holland-based Apex Group of companies, the world’s largest manufacturer of anilox rolls for corrugated, narrow, wide-web and coating applications also invented and holds the patent on the Genetic Transfer Technology (GTT) product line.

Group Publications